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This article was published on June 16, 2017

    How the Insta-perfect standard is putting girls’ health at risk

    How the Insta-perfect standard is putting girls’ health at risk
    Carissa Lintao
    Story by

    Carissa Lintao

    Writer

    Carissa is a writer based in New York. When she's not writing about apps, marketing, or tech, you can probably catch her eating ice cream. Carissa is a writer based in New York. When she's not writing about apps, marketing, or tech, you can probably catch her eating ice cream.

    Women everywhere are scrolling through Instagram looking at the standard of the perfect kids, women, and men ー and it’s sending them into a downward spiral mentally.

    Instagram is the most detrimental social media platform, according to a new study conducted by The Royal Society for Public Health and the Youth Health Movement.

    The study examined Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube and Instagram to figure out which would have a positive and/or negative effect on participants’ health. Researchers found that YouTube was the only platform that had a net-positive effect among users. Every other platform showed net-negative responses, with Instagram being the worst.

    Anxiety, depression, sleep, and FOMO (Fear of missing out) were cited as negative effects, but the most prominent problem was body image. 91-percent of girls/women are unhappy with their bodies and more than 90-percent of girls – 15- to 17-years-old – want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest. 

    If you’re an Instagram user, you already know the issue at hand ー the app is used to show off our “perfect” lives ー and bodies.

    Finsta

    Instagram was created for the sole purpose of sharing pictures and experiences with your community, but somewhere along the way it morphed into a museum, only displaying the best and never anything less.

    If you know anyone under the age of seventeen on Instagram, you may have heard the term, “finsta,” thrown around. The definition of finsta is a fake Instagram. A fake Instagram where you’re free to post whatever you want whenever you want. These accounts are almost always run by girls and are private as well, so only select people can view posts.

    There’s now two accounts: one for the perfect and one for the pictures that didn’t make the cut.

    Obsession with the need to be thin

    There’s a recurring theme of the need to be thin on Instagram. Hashtags like #thinsperation, #fitspo, and #thinspire really exist. While motivational at first, the content quickly eats away at your self-esteem with time. And unfortunately for many girls, it’s already happening.

    One participant of the study commented that social media has resulted in, “not eating properly and losing a lot of weight and becoming very depressed.” And it’s clear to see why.

    Explore page

    According to Instagram, this is how the Explore page works:

    Posts are selected automatically based on things like the people you follow or the posts you like. You may also see video channels, which can include posts from a mixture of hand-picked and automatically sourced accounts based on topics we think you’ll enjoy.

    Although Instagram says posts are selected based on the posts girls like ー they could “like” the picture, but still hate themselves.